5 Things to Do in Koh Lanta Thailand
Crystal clear waters.
A slow, relaxed pace of living.
Fine Thai eats.
Deep, lush jungle.
I like to think of Koh Lanta, Thailand as Phuket Lite.
This small island is located on the Andaman Sea in the southern half of Thailand. Tourists cannot flood the island in throngs because for the longest time only ferry travel has been possible. A bridge does connect the 2 islands making up Koh Lanta – Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai – but as of this writing, you can only get from the mainland in Krabi to the island by ferry.
No Airport + No Bridge = A Largely Unspoiled, Peaceful, Serene Island
We visited Koh Lanta a while back to enjoy the calming effect of this soothing environment.
The beaches are world class; we often had our own private beaches on the southern end of the island, with clear to turquoise blue waters lapping calmly at the beach. A hilly island center forms the spine of Lanta, with deep, green jungles dominating the island.
Rubber plantations dot various portions of the area as a prime means of support for the locals.
Wildlife is abundant here. I regularly saw monitor lizards in the field across from our rented home. Trips to the center of the island treated us to huge monitor lizards as well as colorful snakes and exotic-looking birds.
If you are heading to Koh Lanta soon try these 5 things on for size.
1: Hit the Beach
Koh Lanta is a beach spot through and through.
Brilliant beaches line the Andaman Sea, with white sands and turquoise blue waters.
The northern end of the island has some nice beaches but the southern end of Koh Lanta holds the true gems.
These drop dead gorgeous beaches are basically private spots for the tourist who doesn’t mind roughing it. Keep an eye out for small motorbike parking areas on the side of the road next to deep jungle. Park and head East, child. Just carry your mosquito repellent and be on the lookout for cobra and 5 foot long monitor lizards.
Hey; I did say you’d need to rough it to get some sweet views, didn’t I?
2: Stroll Around Old Town
We rented a home through AirBnb in Old Town.
Strolling around this quiet little community was our favorite evening past time.
Restaurants, a few markets and yep, you have some lodging too in Old Town. The tiny, sleepy spot sits on the bay side of Koh Lanta. A few tourists trickle through here and there along with groups heading toward the dock for a boat ride but the town is most locals.
Old Town and Koh Lanta in general has a Muslim influence, common in southern Thailand. I recall waking to the morning salah every day as roosters crowed and the bay lapped gently at the stilts of the house.
3: Motorbike the Island
Koh Lanta is a small island.
Phuket, this is not.
Motorbike the island for some stunning scenery and great photo opportunities.
We went from top to bottom in under 45 minutes. If you head toward the island interior – amid the mountains – you can add some time to the journey.
I recall seeing plenty of monkeys, snakes, a monstrously large scorpion and a few huge monitor lizards during our moto-trips around the island. Peeping the sea gypsy community tickled my pickle too.
4: Visit the National Park
The National Park – located at the southern tip of the island – is a gorgeous retreat that screams tropical paradise.
Imagine the clearest waters beckoning you for a swim in a horseshoe-shaped cove, surrounded by impressive rocky outcroppings, making for a dramatic scene.
Make your way into the deep jungle for a hot, humid but inviting journey.
Kelli and I saw rare dusky langurs and plenty of monkeys by the water. I suspect these guys steal stuff from tourists. Seemed too cheeky to do otherwise.
The admission fee is peanuts (not literally) and since the park is not too big you can spend a morning there to see all that you’d want to see.
5: Visit Lanta Animal Welfare
Visit Lanta Animal Welfare to observe street dogs and street cats in a loving, high energy environment.
These chaps are picked up from rough situations and rehabilitated.
When Kelli and I visited Koh Lanta in 2013 volunteers could walk the dogs on the beach. We never did it but hope to volunteer for some fun soi dog beach walking in the future.
This is a fabulous service as the soi dog and street cat situation on Lanta and in other areas that are not heavily touristed can get a little bananas.